Beaver Damage and Solutions
Busy as a Beaver
It’s a common expression that implies a person’s industrious or hardworking style, and reflects how hard beavers work to build their dams and lodges. But a Wildlife Control Services Professional will tell you the damages they can leave with.
What is a Beaver?
The beaver (Castor Canadensis) is a part of the “rodentia” order, and is, in fact, North America’s largest rodent. Designed for a life in the water, beaver adults can be up to four feet long and can weigh over 60 pounds. It’s large, flat, nearly hairless tail helps it to maintain balance when gnawing trees on land, and is also used as a warning signal when slapped against water. These animals have poor eyesight but have keen hearing, smell and touch.
Beavers are semi-aquatic animals, meaning they live both in the water and on land, and on up to 24 years in the wild. They are found living near rivers, streams, ponds, small lakes and marshes. Covered with dark fur over a thick layer of fat to keep it warm, the beaver is waterproofed thanks to an oily secretion called castoreum. They are mostly nocturnal creatures but can be seen at times during the day.
A beaver lives in what is called a lodge that is built from sticks, logs and mud, in a very rare display of terra-forming. The underside of the pile is dug out and made into the lodge. The entry into the lodge is through an underwater tunnel that is dug out by the animal.
Drawing by Jenifer Rees
Beavers have long sharp upper and lower incisor teeth that they use to cut down trees, saplings and other woody vegetation. The beaver eats tree bark and cambium – the soft tissue that grows under the bark of a tree. While especially fond of willow, maple, birch, aspen, cottonwood, beech poplar and alder trees, a beaver will also eat aquatic vegetation such as sword-fern, pond-weed, water-lily and even algae. Where available, beavers prefer herbaceous vegetation over woody food sources during all seasons. Woody vegetation may be desired for its ability to be preserved and consumed over long, icy winters when other sources may not be available.
Beaver Damage: For all the association with industriousness, beavers can cause quite a bit of property damage. Beavers build dams to flood areas in order to gain more protection from potential predators, for better access to their food supply and to provide a more secure underwater entrance to their den. In another aspect of terra-forming, the flooded areas created by damming a body of water can create wet soil conditions ideal for some of their more favored foods. While good for the beaver, damming usually causes flooding upstream from the waters origin. During summer the beaver’s main activity is dam maintenance and feeding, building up fat reserves. They begin storing winter food in late summer and early fall, and this is often when property owners may notice downed trees and property damage.
Solution: There are several methods to prevent conflicts or re-mediate existing beaver problems.
- Choosing and placing plants carefully
- Installing barriers
- Using water levelers to prevent flooding
This can get messy and potentially dangerous due to the water-logged environment. Beavers can also become territorial, so if you have beavers on your property – or if your neighbor has beavers – call a Wildlife Removal Expert at Eastside Exterminators for more information on our fast, effective trapping services at (425) 482-2101.